Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Couple Winter Preps

Today I took care of a couple things that were overdue.

First, I test ran my generator using propane and a new regulator that I bought after I ran it last. That time, I couldn't get it running on propane, only on gasoline. While gas is more energy dense, propane is easier and safer to store in a suburban environment. I'm pleased to say that it fired right up and I ran it for about 15 minutes so that the battery would recharge. After I was done I disconnected the regulator and stored it inside a gallon Ziploc bag to keep it clean.

Second, I got my snow blower running again. We haven't needed one in a few years and it had been neglected. The engine froze at one point because I forgot to run it one year. I pulled the spark plug and hosed down the inside of the cylinder with Kroil and let it sit.

Today it turned over using the electric start but wouldn't run. I wound up changing the oil and replacing the spark plug. While changing the oil I actually drained it, refilled it with oil, drained it again, and then filled with 5W30. It then started up and ran with around a cup of Seafoam in the tank. I let it run dry.

After finishing up I ordered a new recoil starter assembly, shear pins, and a spark plug directly from Troy-Bilt, plus a new cover from Amazon.

The long range forecasts are calling for snow this winter so I really want the blower functional.

November 2023 Telecom Crash in Australia

I didn't see coverage of this in the US media. Instead, I saw it linked from Tactical Wisdom's X feed.

Read the whole thing, it has an excellent discussion of immediate effects along with secondary and tertiary effects of a major Internet/telecom outage.

Among the things that we take for granted that won't work if communication lines are down include:

  • Bank withdrawals or deposits, whether in-person or via an ATM.
  • Purchasing groceries, gas, or basically anything if the store's point of sale system requires a functional connection.
  • Cell phones, landlines, and Internet, obviously.
  • Uber / Lyft / GrubHub / Door Dash, etc.
  • Stuff that uses the Internet to augment other services. E.g., Google Maps or Waze, which use your phone's Internet to download maps in real time to work with its built-in GPS.
  • Government services including 911.
Now think of how much everything you do everyday is dependent on that telco/ISP connection.

Long-term readers may recall that I work for a very large ISP/telco. I started out supporting our optical transport network then transitioned into operations for our product development labs. This stuff is very complicated with a million spinning, intertwined parts. I've seen outages caused by things ranging from Bubba shooting up exposed cable nodes with a shotgun to router configuration foul ups.

Aside from all that much of the physical infrastructure (fiber lines, coaxial lines, etc.) is by necessity running through publicly accessible areas.

There's been a lot of speculating in the past couple of years that we'll eventually get into a war with China, or that if we attack Iran they would asymmetric attacks against targets in CONUS. IMO, they'd be foolish not to if either conflict went hot.

Cyber attacks are a real threat against all the large providers and something they deal with constantly. In the event of a shooting war they'd ramp up immeasurably. These would include range from physical attacks to hacking and denial of service.

Go read the article I linked above and do some prepping so you can weather at least a short term interruption of Internet and telco services.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

Something that puzzles me is otherwise-capable outdoorsmen who can't sharpen a knife. Granted, sharpening a knife freehand can be challenging, especially if it's large, but being able to sharpen one's pocket knife should be considered a core skill.

There are a million different tools and gadgets for knife sharpening. One that I've used for several years and highly recommend is the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener. It includes several useful features:

  • A coarse diamond plate (220 grit)
  • A fine diamond plate (600 grit)
  • A ceramic rod with grooves that can be used to sharped knives or fish hooks
  • A small ceramic rod for sharpening serrations
  • A leather strop
It weighs 5.6 oz. and is 6.75" long.

Side view, showing the fine diamond plate:

Top view, showing the ceramic rods:

And the bottom-mounted leather strop:

Ideally, you'll touch up the edge on your knife before it gets too dull, so that you only need to use the ceramic rod and then remove the burr using the strop.

Unfortunately, Work Sharp does not include a case with the unit. I bought the case separately. I don't see the specific one I bought but here's an assortment of cases that are currently available.

You'll also need to get some stropping compound for the leather. I am using some green stropping compound from Eastwood, or pick one of these.

For the past year my EDC pocketknife most days has been a Spyderco Endura 4 with a pretty hard VG-10 blade. It has excellent edge retention but if you let it get too dull can be a bitch to resharpen. It needed attention because while it still cut well it no longer was shaving sharp. After about 5 minutes of work on the ceramic rod and strop it was back to shaving sharp.

If you don't know how learn to sharpen a knife and get sharpening tools you like. I'm a big fan of the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Israeli Battle Dressing Demo Video

This short video clearly demonstrates how to use an Israeli battle dressing. I keep several around, and so should you.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Galco Draw-Ez Solution for Leather Holsters

Recently I've posted about M3 Tanker Holsters, of which I have three variants. The no-name copy that I wanted to use with my Beretta M9 was very snug, so I did a couple things to make it usable.

First, the leather was very dry, so I worked in some 100% neatsfoot oil. This softened it a bit and will preserve the leather. At some point I'll also rub some Sno-Seal dressing into the outside, to provide some water repellency.

After treating it with neatsfoot oil, I wrapped the Berretta in Saran wrap and forced it into the holster for about a week. This loosened it a little and the I added a plastic bag over the Saran wrap, then let it sit in the holster for another week or so. By this point it was getting there. However, the gun still dragged when drawing it.

So, the final step was to rub some Galco Draw-Ez Solution into the inside of the holster where the gun rubbed against it. I let it sit for about 10 minutes, put the naked gun back in, and tried drawing. It made a noticeable improvement.

Draw-Ez comes in 1/2 oz. (15ml) bottle. It's not cheap but a little goes a long way. If you have a leather holster that is hard to draw from it's worth trying.